Connect with us

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Why Jameis Winston is fading from best-young QB conversation

Roy Cummings



Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA – Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has produced some absolutely eye-popping numbers during his first two-plus years in the NFL, and indeed most of them are the kind any quarterback would be proud of.

Winston, for example, was the first quarterback ever to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons and his 50 touchdown passes over that span were the fifth most by a young quarterback.

At the same time, Winston has produced at least one stat that no quarterback can be proud of because it’s the kind that quarterbacks, coaches, teammates and fans can only wince at when they see it.

Through 41 career starts, Winston has turned the ball over 50 times, including 39 times via interceptions and 11 times via fumbles like the one he lost Sunday during the Bucs 26-20 loss to the Packers in Green Bay.

That is an unconscionable number and if you’re wondering why Winston has suddenly begun to fade from the conversation regarding the game’s best young quarterbacks, well wonder no more.

That stat alone tells you that for all the ways in which Winston can win a game for you, there are two ways in which he can and far too often loses games for you, and it happened again on Sunday.

On a first-and-10 play from the Packers 30-yard line, which means the Bucs were already in position to tie a game in which they were trailing 10-7 midway through the second quarter, Winston got greedy.

As he is wont to do and sometimes does rather well, Winston tried to keep a dying play alive when the better option would have been to let the play die out and live for another down.

Instead, while he was being taken down by nose tackle Kenny Clark, Winston tried to throw a pass (he says) to tight end Cameron Brate, who was nowhere in the vicinity at the time.

Who was in the vicinity was defensive lineman Dean Lowry, who grabbed Winston’s attempted throw out of mid air and ran the ball back 62 yards for a highlight reel touchdown.

For Winston, it was just another one of those plays that “he would like to have back,’’ as Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has had to say far too many times the last three years.

“That definitely can be an issue,’’ Koetter said of the downside of Winston’s refusal to quit on plays. “That’s something we’ve talked about many times, because Jameis is going to make some plays (in those situations).

 “And that one there, in a perfect world, he would’ve gotten the ball out of his hands. But they were quick on him, and you’ve got to remember, he’s 23-years old and experience is still the best teacher.’’

 You would think that a coach would be the best teacher but when the coach is hesitant to coach the competiveness out of Winston as the Bucs coaches are, then the lesson has to be learned through experience.

The only problem with that is, Winston does not appear to be learning from experience. Even bad experiences. After all, the play Winston tried to make Sunday was very similar to one he tried to make during a preseason game this year against Jacksonville.

The only difference was that that one occurred inside the red zone and that an official ruled Winton down by contact, thereby negating the interception he threw into the end zone while laying flat on his back.

Koetter gave Winston an earful on that one of course, telling him “You can’t do that ever, ever, ever,’’ to which Winston responded, “I got it.’’ Except it’s clear now that Winston still hasn’t got it.

Winston either hasn’t learned at all from that mistake or he refuses to learn from it because he would rather continue to put his team at risk than change out of his gunslinger persona.

As long as that remains the case, Winston will continue to stunt not only his own growth as a quarterback but the growth of the Buccaneers as a franchise and potential playoff contender.

And if that continues and Winston fails to ever achieve his goal of being a true franchise quarterback for a Super Bowl champions, well, he’ll have only himself to blame.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.



  1. CharlieC

    December 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Winston played a good game behind a beat up offensive line. He has set records and his turn overs will improve with experience and age. He had his team ahead with 5 minutes left. The Bucs are in dire need of pass rushers for a decade now. The best years of Gerald Mcoy have been mired with no talent around him. Once the defense improves this team can compete again

  2. Jeffrey

    December 5, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    There is a guy in his 1st 3 seasons who had similar stats. PEYTON MANNING! And another HOF gunslinger named BRETT FARVE! So your article sucks.

  3. Bucko40

    December 5, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Wow Jeffery. Peyton had on Losing season after his rookie year and never made the boneheaded mistakes that Winston continues to make. Garvey is a better comparison but again Favre was able to back up his mistakes. Winston has had 1 4th Qtr comeback thus far. He’s a dump truck and nothing but trash

  4. Jack Haydon

    December 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

    He is making mistakes, and we hear this every week. He will mature, we hope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Former Bucs coach Dungy- “You can’t make that move”

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It remains a huge topic for now in Tampa Bay, what happens when former number 1 pick and franchise quarterback Jameis Winston comes off of suspension after Monday night’s game with the Steelers?

For now, the answer appears to be simple, Ryan Fitzpatrick has played tremendous football for two weeks. This includes being named the NFC offensive player of the week for both weeks to start the season as the Bucs are 2 – 0.

Former Buccaneers coach and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Tony Dungy weighed in on the Winston debate Friday morning on “ProFootballTalk Live” and NBC Sports Network:

“If Ryan plays like he played these last two games, if he does it again Monday night, how can you say ‘we have a better chance to win with a quarterback who hasn’t been in the building for three and half weeks….You can’t make that move.” Dungy continued, “Right now, you have to say ‘Ryan Fitzpatrick gives us the best chance to win.'”

Dungy, who’s the commentator now in the studio for NBC on Sunday nights, will actually be at the Monday night showdown between the Bucs and the Steelers. This is because he’s being placed in Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor, acknowledging Dungy having turned around the Buccaneer franchise in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Dungy went on to reference the example in the early 70s of the Dolphins and Don Shula facing this dilemma when Bob Griese had broken his ankle at the beginning of a season. And veteran journeyman backup Earl Morrall replaced him, and ended up being the MVP of the NFL regular season that year. Morrall played all the way until he was ineffective in the AFC Championship Game. Griese replaced him and the Fins won it all with a perfect season.

Dungy’s point was the Shula chose to “ride the hot hand,” even with a great player and established quarterback waiting in the wings, and Miami ended up making history.

Dungy, the former Super Bowl coach of Colts, then even told Florio how he would handle the situation in his locker room and with the media after Monday night, if Fitzpatrick leads the Bucs to a win:

“I don’t think you can say with Ryan, ‘you’re our guy no matter what.’ … You’ve gotta say, ‘I’ll make the decision, when I feel like Ryan doesn’t give us the best chance to win, we’ve got a great player (Winston) ready to play. But, for now? Don’t ask me any questions, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s playing. I’ll let you know when he’s not gonna play.'”

It’s obvious that if Fitzpatrick just plays decently and the Bucs win, he’s going to remain their quarterback. Also, if FitzPatrick plays well and the Bucs narrowly lose, he more than likely is going to remain the quarterback, for now.

However, few believe that this situation is going to remain the same throughout the 16-game schedule and more than likely, the Bucs will turn back to Winston at some point and maybe soon.

However, as Dungy put it out there Friday, that time just isn’t right now.

Continue Reading

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs got good injury news Thursday starting with rookie DT Vea

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Despite their 2 – 0 start, the Buccaneers have been battling early-season injuries, but they got good news on Thursday. In particular, mammoth rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea returned to the practice field for the first time, since injuring his calf in the first week of training camp in late July.

The former number 1 pick out of Washington was on the practice field with a helmet and shoulder pads during the time period that the media was allowed to view and film practice. There is eager anticipation on Vea being able to get in the lineup and be paired next to Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy on the Bucs defensive why.

Tampa Bay officially listed Vea as “limited” in Thursday’s workout, as they prepare for Monday night’s match-up with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The good news on the defensive side of the ball, has lockdown defensive back Brent Grimes also returned to practice for the Bucs Thursday. Grimes has missed the last two weeks after injuring his groin just before the opening game at New Orleans. He was also officially listed as limited by the team on their injury report.

Grimes will be counted on even more heavily now that the Bucs have lost another starting Corner in Vernon Hargreaves, who’s out for the season with a shoulder injury. Last week, Tampa Bay played a mix of rookies and a veteran, whom they had just picked up during the week.

Second round picks M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis played significantly in last Sunday’s 27 – 21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Tampa Bay was also forced to use veteran free agent Marcus Williams for a couple of series, who they had picked up off of waivers during the game onSunday. Third-year veteran Ryan Smith played significantly, as well in the game and will also be counted on moving forward.

The Bucs also listed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’s won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week back to back to start the season, is also on the injury report with a knee, but he was able to practice.

Also, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is battling a knee injury and was not able to work out on Thursday. Pierre-Paul hurt the knee in New Orleans, but played that entire game and all of the Philadelphia game.

Continue Reading

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s cool to be a Bucs fan, again

Jeff Pantridge



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(Please welcome a new contributor to F.F.I. Jeff Pantridge is a long time resident of the Tampa Bay area who has formerly hosted on the Tampa Bay sports radio scene, and also most recently in Virginia Beach, VA. He will be giving us his unique humor and insight into everything involving Florida’s college and NFL teams. Welcome “Pants!”)

In a country that’s as divided as ever; we don’t have many things that we agree on in 2018. Despite all of our differences though, there is one thing that we share. We all want to be cool.

This is how life works. You’re born. You learn how to walk. You learn how to talk. You run around the playground for a few years and once you hit 8 years old or so; you figure things out. You want to be cool. You realize that the cute sweater with the sailboat on it that mom got you when you were 7 sucks and you want to start picking your own clothes. From that point on, pretty much until we die, while we may have a few more meaningful purposes; we’ll always on some level, just want to be cool.

I’ve been a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, since I was 7 years old. I started watching and listening to their games with my dad in 1984. I loved my Bucs and I would go to school every morning and let all of the other kids know it. They weren’t impressed. The Buccos finished 6-10 that year and 7 year old kids don’t like losers. Then 1985 hit. I ditched that stupid sweater and got me a brand new orange Tampa Bay Bucs shirt. I traded in my sailboat for a menacing pirate ship. I had to be cool at this point, right?

Nope. The Bucs went 2-14 that year. Unfortunately, 8-year old me had no idea that my football team hired a former used RV salesman (Leeman Bennett) to be their head coach. Meanwhile, the coolest team ever assembled shuffled their way to a Super Bowl by dismantling everyone in their path. They also danced, they rapped, they appeared on TV shows and redefined what cool was. Just about every 8-year old kid in my class and in every other class, was a Chicago Bears fan. After that 2-14 season, the Bucs had another 2-14 season. And then 10 more losing seasons after that. The Bears would go on to wear out their welcome at the cool kids table too.

The thing is; coolness is fleeting. Trends fade over time. For the rest of my youth, many teams sat at that cool kids table. The Giants were cool. Then the Redskins were cool. Then the 49ers were cool. Then the Cowboys were cool… It seemed like every team was getting to eat lunch at that table except my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then it happened…

In 1997; everything changed. The Bucs had just hired a new Head Coach (Tony Dungy) in the previous year. (This guy didn’t sell RV’s.) They were led by Hardy Nickerson and 2 first round draft picks in their 3rd year who were destined to become first ballot Hall of Famers. They ditched those comically uncool creamsicle uniforms and they were off and running.

While most people will tell you that 2002 was their favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneers season for obvious reasons; I will always lean towards 1997, because that’s when my football team became cool. They started 5-0 that year, and to this day; I’ve never seen The Bay Area buzzing like that.

Not when the Lightning won The Cup. Not when The Rays got to the World Series. Not even when the Buccaneers themselves brought the Lomabardi trophy home 5 years later. EVERYBODY was talking about the Bucs!

21 years later; everybody is talking about these Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again. It might be a new cast of characters, but your Pewter Pirates are the coolest team in America, led by the coolest athlete in America; Ryan Fitzpatrick. Who would’ve thought that a guy like him would ever fit that title? He’s a 35-year old backup quarterback that went to Harvard. This is 2018 though. Nerds are cool now. Marc Zuckerberg (another Harvard nerd) is worth more than the entire NFL. LeBron James wears glasses, when he doesn’t need to wear glasses.

Heck, I just watched SportsCenter do 10 minutes on some dude that plays video games for a living. By the way, this nerd also hangs with Drake, Paul George and a bunch of other really cool people that don’t hang out with any of us.

Do we know how long this ride is going to last? No. Will it be a long ride? Probably not. Like I said… coolness is fleeting. I’m just happy to be sitting at that cool kids table once again.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Big Savings for Big Fans at